Coach K and Condoleezza Rice at Chick-fil-A Leadercast 2013

I am taking time this week to share my notes from last Friday’s Chick-fil-A Leadercast.  I really enjoyed learning from Coach K (Coach of Duke Basketball and Team USA) and Condoleezza Rice (former Secretary of State).  Take some time to reflect on these insights from a couple of highly successful leaders!

Coach K on Communication and Managing Egos

  • Leaders create a culture of success in which every job is important.  Coach K never delegates, only empowers.
  • The most important part of leadership is communication.
  • Rule on the U.S. Olympic Team:  Always make eye contact when we’re talking with each other.
  • In order to have trust on a team,  you must always tell the truth and expect the truth.
  • Everyone said his first U.S. Olympic Team players were too egotistical to play together.  Coach K told them to bring their egos with them.  But to turn their personal egos into a collective team ego.
  • Rules do not lead and they are not owned by the people who are given them.  Standards are owned by a team and allow team members to hold each other accountable.
  • Coach K held a meeting with a team to develop standards.  He did not create the standards for them.  He asked them what standards they wanted to hold each other accountable to.  Team members created and enforced the standards for themselves.

Condoleezza Rice on Leading in Complexity and Finding Balance

  • In the midst of complexity, ask, “What is the one thing I can do to change the direction of this conversation, negotiation, or situation?”
  • To create energy and positivity during difficult situations, help people see times in the past when great things came out of difficult situations.
  • The first thing a leader can do to make a difference: Be right with yourself. And be right with God.  Without that core of integrity, people will see through you.
  • No matter your role, it is important to take breaks.  Condoleezza takes an intentional break on Sundays.
  • If you don’t take care of yourself, you cannot take care of the people you lead.
  • You must put balance and rest on your schedule.
  • Condoleezza watched her grandmother find peace in any situation based on the idea of “God’s will be done.”
  • On finding peace:  Leaders say, “Don’t just stand there, do something.”  Sometimes a leader has to say to self, “Don’t do something, just stand there.”

Which of these insights stands out to you most?  I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

Read notes from Andy Stanley’s session here.


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Ryan Stigile